RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “These shocking figures reveal the scale of the task in hand to reverse the relaxed attitudes of persistent offenders and to change driver behaviours. It will be interesting to see what impact the new increased penalties will have but with a significantly reduced presence of dedicated roads policing officers some will doubt they will bring about the behavioural change we need.
“We need a concerted effort by the Government, the police and the courts using a combination of tougher penalties, targeted enforcement and a hard-hitting education campaign to tackle what has become a desperate problem for society.
“It is time for motorists to accept their personal responsibility to drive safely and to observe the law. No call, text, post or tweet can be that important – it really can wait. Smart drivers will have already made their own personal commitment not to use a handheld device when driving. We need all drivers, young and old, to listen to the harrowing stories we have heard this week about families devastated as a result of accidents caused by a distracted driver preoccupied by their phone and make the right choice by ditching the handheld smartphone at the wheel.”